And while most spectators probably thought they simply attended a
common high school football game Friday night when Lincoln hosted
Chatham Glenwood, something "beyond common" took place.
Gee family tragedy in nearby Beason earlier this week, several of
the Railer players lost a friend and schoolmate in 16-year-old
Among those with a heavy heart Friday night was
Railer wide receiver Darvez Stancle. Stancle entered the game with
one reception on the season for 28 yards. The loss of his friend
Justina gave Stancle pause to consider his own mortality and
approach to living.
"I made a speech in class, when everyone was
crying and I was crying, and I said, 'You just don't know when your
life is going to end, so why not do it hard?'" Stancle said. "So
right then, I said, 'I am going to live that life, and that is a
Lincoln trailed by a wide margin late in the third
quarter. With little doubt of what the game's final outcome would be
at that point, the Railers began using the remainder of the contest
to work on some of their less-used plays, including their
On fourth down and needing seven yards to make a
first down, Shaner decided to go for the first down via a
"We had three receivers to one side, and Darvez on the
backside," Shaner said. "We were going to run a quick slant, kind
of a one-step slant. He had just a cornerback there, and Stephen (Lincoln quarterback Duncan) made a good read, threw the ball on
time and Darvez caught it. All we wanted out of the play was a
Stancle did catch the ball with enough yardage for
the first down. But with thoughts of his friend Justina in the back
of his mind, he put his words from earlier in the week of "why not
do it hard" into action. After catching the ball, Stancle juked and
jived multiple defenders and turned the play from simply a first
down into a 69-yard touchdown, Stancle's first career touchdown for
"Darvez has that athletic ability, some speed and can
make some guys miss," Shaner said. "I think he made three or four
cutback moves and took a great angle to the corner of the end zone
that allowed him not to get caught from backside pursuit.
beginning of the play had a lot of factors in it -- the line doing
their job, Stephen Duncan making a good throw, Darvez making a good
catch -- and after that, it really became Darvez being an athlete."
[to top of second column]
An interaction with his teacher during physical education class
earlier in the week gave the 5-foot-10 Stancle a sense of déja vú
following his touchdown catch. "Coach (Geoff) Alexander, I was asking
him, 'Please, Coach, just let us play some football in PE, I can
juke anyone in that PE,'" Stancle said. "And he was like, 'No,
son, just save it for the game.'
"That was the weirdest thing
After expressing concerns earlier in the week about
homecoming activities perhaps causing the Railer football players
not to focus as intensely as they otherwise might, Shaner was
gratified with Stancle's effort after losing his friend earlier in
"She was a very quiet girl; I had her in some classes,"
Shaner said of Justina. "Darvez was very good friends with her and
had her in several classes. I know that was really weighing on him
tonight, and I'm proud of him for coming out here and giving the
effort that he did."
"I will always remember that first touchdown
against Chatham," said Stancle, a junior at LCHS. "And there will be
more next year."
There's no doubt that Darvez Stancle's friend
Justina would have been cheering him on as he accelerated to
the end zone for his first career touchdown Friday night. From
somewhere up above, no doubt she was.
Chatham Glenwood defeated Lincoln 47-6 Friday night. But Darvez
Stancle's sprint to the end zone -- in part a tribute to Justina
Constant -- did more than just tally Lincoln's only six points of the
night on the scoreboard. After a week filled with shock, disbelief,
grief and so many bad feelings, it allowed Stancle one positive
memory from the time span to go along with the other good memories
the young man has of his departed friend.
[By LOYD KIRBY]